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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know a lot of us who use tech gadgets in our props are often challenged with finding a cost-effective solution for audio that maintains high-quality sound. Sometimes we resort to using older technology like Chipcorders or spend lots of cash on high-end mp3 units like the uMP3.

This mp3 unit from Sparkfun looks like a nice alternative to the uMP3 player ($99) and Hauntbots standalone MP3 player ($95). The best part is it can interface to a prop controller (like a prop1) OR be triggered by a series of pins. The absolute best thing about this unit is it's only $49.95!

Steve O from the Garage of Evil uses the vMusic player ($38) but it requires some wiring to get it to work with a prop controller and it needs a bulky USB key sticking out the front of it. I think the extra $10 to not have to tinker with wiring and have a smaller form-factor is money well spent.

You will still need a microSD card to put the sound files on, but those are so plentiful and inexpensive these days ($7 from Newegg) that it's hardly a drawback.

I haven't received one yet to try it out, but I anticipate it will have similar quality to the uMP3 I've been using for a few years now. Lord knows it can't sound as bad as the Parallax AP-8 that EFX-TEK sells ($49.95).

I really can't wait to get my hands on one!
 

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EFX-TEK is introducing a similar product at TW called the AP-16. Says it uses an SD card, WAV, and 42W onboard amp with TTL or trigger control. No price given yet...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I just did a lot more detailed reading on the Sparkfun unit. Out of the box it doesn't support the baud rate that the Prop1 uses. As shipped, the unit supports 38.4Kbps and is not user configurable.

HOWEVER, there are firmware updates you can download and install that will change the baud rate to be compatible with the prop1.

Full info on how to do this can be found here:
http://makerjam.com/projects/updating-the-mp3-trigger-firmware/

I'll do some more research on this and find out if there's a way to reprogram it with other methods of connection (like maybe a way to reprogram it with the serial connector similar to how the ump3 works).
 

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DarkLore is building a prop that uses one of these boards. He talks about ithere (it's the little red board in the photo) and has a video of the prop in that same thread. Looks like a very promising player. I know there were some initial issues getting the device to play mp3 files. It had to do with ID3 tag info embedded in the mp3 causing problems. They talk about the issue in the comments of the product on Sparkfun. Once the ID3 tag info is ripped out, the files play fine.
 

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Funny...I've mentioned this little board several times over the past few months, but nobody seemed to care. I didn't want to overly promote it because I don't want you lunk heads buying them all up.

My prop is done, and I had no problem with my board. I simply recorded my sounds and copied them to a memory card. The tag info Jaybo mentions, appears to be added by programs like iTunes. Note - your memory card must be formatted fat16. Which means....get a 2Gb card. I had problems with the original card I bought because it was 8Gb.

the video I referenced in Clip #38 is relinked below...

Video Clip

That video clip is playing sound from the mp3 trigger.
 
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